Chaye Sarah: It’s How You Say It That Counts

When examining the life of Sarah Imenu, I was intellectually dissatisfied with the akeida story. Was she informed that Avraham was bringing Isaak as a korban? I think not. The Midrash says that an angel spoke to Sarah and told her, after which she died.

My recent explorations have been in Emunah (the belief that all God does is for good) and Haskacha Pratit (the belief that God participates in our lives individually) as concerning our life situations. In these, Sarah had no opportunity to look at the situation with emuhah or see within it the hand of God. She died before either could happen, and that like a big rip-off.

Later, we saw a story in which prayer was very clearly answered. Eliezer was seeking a wife for Isaak at his mother’s brother’s house and “he said” a prayer setting the condition that if she offers water to his camel, she’s the one.

I was called up for the shlishit alia in which the special trope called attention to the words “he said” and I returned to my seat puzzled. Chazal was silent about the two words, but went on and on about WHAT he said, that it was one of a few times that a prayer was answered while it was “still in his mouth.” Instead, it was the manner in which “he said” this prayer. It was a matter of kavanah.

Eliezer had a secret hope that the match would fail, then Isaac could marry is own daughter. His instantaneous answer served to let hi know beyond doubt that the situation was being guided by heaven. No hindsight was required to understand the lesson. It was to be as it was, regardless of what “he said.”

Sarah’s case was different. She never even got the chance to pray before or reflect after. Chaye Sarah can only be understood under the filter of time, the intergeneration linking of destiny in which hashgacha pratit can be seen, hidden in the details and waiting to foster emunah in us all.

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